April 16, 2012
GCI ANNOUNCES PLAN TO DEPLOY TERRESTRIAL BROADBAND INTERNET SERVICE IN 65 REMOTE RURAL COMMUNITIES
Deployment in Southwest Alaska One Year Ahead of Schedule
ANCHORAGE, AK – General Communication, Inc. (GCI) (NASDAQ:GNCMA) and its wholly owned subsidiary, United Utilities, Inc. (UUI), today announced their plan to provide terrestrial broadband Internet service to the residents of 65 remote, rural communities in Bristol Bay and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.
At the end of 2011, a year ahead of schedule, UUI completed the construction of TERRA-Southwest, the first terrestrial broadband transport network to link Anchorage and the 65 communities. At the beginning of 2012, TERRA-Southwest began providing terrestrial broadband service to critical community service providers such as schools, hospitals, and health clinics.
As a result of the early completion of TERRA-Southwest, GCI and UUI have accelerated their plans to deploy terrestrial broadband Internet service in the 65 TERRA-Southwest communities. The first phase of deployment will begin in June and should be completed by mid-October of 2012, a year ahead of schedule.
GCI and UUI will offer a range of new Internet service plans starting as low as $24.99 per month. In communities currently served by the satellite-based WISP system, download speeds will be eight to 16 times faster than what is available today on similarly priced plans. Customers also will experience a substantial increase in service quality because TERRA-Southwest eliminates satellite-related latency. For more information about the communities to be served, new service plans and technical terms, go to www.gci.com/TERRA.
“We’re proud to be able to provide terrestrial broadband Internet service for the first time to the residents of Bristol Bay and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta,” said Ron Duncan, GCI president and CEO. “TERRA-Southwest is bringing 21st century telecommunications to southwest Alaska, and GCI has already started work to extend the network and its benefits to northwest Alaska.”
The new Internet service plans will be delivered over different networks depending on the community.
In TERRA-Southwest communities other than Bethel and Dillingham, the plans will be delivered over newly deployed Wi-Fi wireless networks and possibly over wireline DSL (digital subscriber line) networks in some UUI communities. Both GCI and UUI will provide the plans in all UUI communities.
Since Wi-Fi coverage is affected by many factors, including the unique topographic features of each community, the first phase of the Wi-Fi deployment may not achieve full availability of the service plans throughout a given community. After the first phase is complete, GCI and UUI will evaluate the resulting coverage and determine whether additional steps are needed to achieve additional coverage.
In Bethel, the plans will be delivered over GCI’s existing video network and UUI’s DSL network. GCI is still working on a service delivery solution in Dillingham, as GCI does not own a local telephone or video network and Dillingham’s geographic layout is not ideal for the installation of Wi-Fi service.
GCI will also make wholesale service plans available to other local carriers in the TERRA-Southwest service area, which will enable those carriers to sell Internet service to their customers.
GCI will post updates on www.gci.com/TERRA about service dates and ordering procedures as the deployment progresses.
GCI (NASDAQ:GNCMA) is an Alaska-based integrated communications provider and the second largest wireless provider in Alaska. As a pioneer in bundled services, GCI provides local, long distance and wireless telephone, video services, Internet and data communication services throughout Alaska. For more information, visit www.gci.com/about.